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LIVING IN AUSTRIA

EXPLAINED: How to maximise your annual leave in Austria in 2022

It's time to start planning your 2022 holiday year before your colleagues snap up all the most coveted days. Here are our tips for making the most of your annual leave in Austria.

Hammock by cabin
Plan your time off right this year using our tips. Photo: Carla Fuller/Unsplash

Austria can already boast some of the most generous annual leave worldwide, with 25 days’ minimum for full-time employees and an additional 13 public holidays. 

As in many European countries, but unlike the UK for example, most Austrian holidays are tied to specific dates rather than weekdays. If they happen to fall on a weekend, you do not got a day off in lieu.

That means that 2022 actually only offers ten weekday public holidays, while two of the three ‘de facto’ public holidays (which employers are not obliged to give as days off, but many do) also fall on weekends, so most employees will get 11 days off work in addition to their annual leave.

In 2021, just nine of the 13 public holidays fell on weekdays, but by contrast all three of the ‘de facto’ public holidays did, meaning that most people with employment in Austria got 12 days off this year.

Some savvy annual leave planning can help you maximise your days however, for example by taking advantage of five possible four-day weekends throughout the year, which only require one day of annual leave each.

It’s worthwhile thinking about this early in the year, because forward planning is almost a national sport in Austria, so you don’t want your colleagues to snag all of the best days off before you.

January

Saturday, January 1st (New Year’s Day)

The public holiday year of 2022 doesn’t get off to a great start, with the first holiday lost to the weekend. A large number of employers offer December 31st as a day off, though they’re not obliged to, so maybe you’ll enjoy a three-day weekend at least.

Thursday, January 6th (Epiphany)

Your first chance at a long weekend comes in the first week of the year, with a four-day weekend if you take Friday the 7th off work. Schools in Austria have this Friday off in 2022, extending the Christmas break until January 10th to make things easier with Covid-19 testing rules.

April

Monday, April 18th (Easter Monday)

Good Friday (Friday, April 15th in 2022) isn’t a public holiday in Austria, but many employers still give their workers the day off without needing to use annual leave. If that applies to you, you can book time off from April 11th to get ten days off in a row with four requested annual leave days.

May

Sunday, May 1st (Labour Day)

Another holiday is lost to the weekend…

Thursday, May 26th (Ascension Day)

…but later in the month you can take Friday, 27th off to get a four-day weekend.

June

Monday, June 6th (Pentecost)

Great news, it’s a three-day weekend. 

Thursday, June 16th (Corpus Christi Day)

Another Thursday public holiday gives the chance to take a ‘bridge day’ and get a second June long weekend.

If you take off May 27th and May 30th-June 3rd, you can get a 12-day holiday for the price of six annual leave days, or if you take off the time between the two June bank holidays (June 7th-10th and 13th-15th), plus Friday 17th, you can get a string of 16 days off for the price of eight days’ annual leave. For people who don’t have to plan around school holidays, this could be an excellent time to plan your main summer break.

More on working in Austria from The Local:

August

Monday, August 15th (Assumption Day)

Another three-day weekend here.

October

Wednesday, October 26th (National Day)

November

Tuesday, November 1st (All Saints Day)

Another chance for a bridge day on the Monday.

December

Thursday, December 8th (Feast of the Immaculate Conception)

Another bridge day opportunity.

Sunday, December 25th (Christmas)

Monday, December 26th (Boxing Day)

In 2022, December 26th gives you one day off, but the other public holidays (December 25th and January 1st, 2023) as well as December 24th and 31st which are not official public holidays but are given by many employers, all fall on the weekend. This means that if you want time off over the holiday, you need to save some of your annual leave to make up for this.

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WORKING IN AUSTRIA

When are the next public holidays in Austria?

Planning vacations around public holidays is an easy way to maximise time off work in Austria. To help you get started, here are the next dates for your diary.

When are the next public holidays in Austria?

We might be heading towards the final season of the year, but there are still several national public holidays to enjoy in Austria before 2022 is over.

Here’s what you need to know.

Austrian National Day

The next big public holiday in Austria is the country’s National Day on Wednesday October 26th. 

It was on this day in 1955 that Austria signed its so-called Declaration of Perpetual Neutrality, although the date has only been a public holiday since 1965.

FOR MEMBERS: Why everything in Austria is closed on Sundays – and what to do instead

The Declaration marked the end of the Allied occupation in Austria by British, American, French and Soviet Union forces, who had controlled the country since the end of World War II in 1945.

On Austrian National Day, the Federal President usually addresses the nation on TV, as well as honouring the victims of the war resistance and laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This is also the day when new recruits of the Austrian Armed Forces are sworn in. 

Additionally, military celebrations typically take place at Vienna’s Heldenplatz and many museums offer free or discounted entry on the holiday.

All Saints’ Day

This religious holiday falls on Tuesday November 1st. It is a celebration of all saints of the Catholic Church and is also recognised in many other countries across Europe.

On the eve of All Saints’ Day (also known as Halloween), it is customary for lanterns to be left at Austrian graveyards. Church bells then ring at noon on the actual holiday. This signifies a release of the souls of the dead, according to the beliefs surrounding this day.

Many Austrians visit cemeteries on this public holiday and decorate the graves of loved ones with autumn flowers, like marigolds and chrysanthemums.

READ ALSO: From inflation to Covid: What to expect from Austria’s winter season

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

On Thursday December 8th, the country shuts down once again for another religious holiday, known as Mariä Empfängnis (Mary’s Conception).

This roots of this public holiday is a celebration of the life of the Virgin Mary as Catholics believe Mary was immaculately conceived on this day. Mary’s mother, Anne, is known as the patron saint of pregnant women.

During the Nazi era, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception was no longer allowed to be a public holiday in Austria. But it was brought back in the 1955 following a public referendum on the issue.

One extra bonus for Austrian residents on Mariä Empfängnis is that shops are allowed to open as the holiday falls during the busiest shopping period of the year. On all other public holidays in Austria, shops are closed.

People stand outside of the traditional annual Christmas Market in front of Vienna’s city hall in Vienna, Austria on November 15, 2021. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

Christmas Day

This year, Christmas Day (December 25th) falls on a Sunday.

Today, Christmas is a celebration of food, culture and gift giving, but the holiday has its roots firmly in Christianity as it marks the birth of Jesus.

In Austria, Christmas is mostly celebrated on the evening of December 24th – known as Christmas Eve elsewhere – and usually involves a meal with family followed by gifts. 

But as Christmas is on a Sunday in 2022, it means the holiday is technically lost. When public holidays fall on a weekend in Austria they are not replaced with another day off, like in some other countries.

READ ALSO: Reader question: What happens in Austria when a holiday falls on a weekend?

St. Stephen’s Day

St. Stephen’s Day in Austria is on December 26th, a holiday that is known as Boxing Day in places like the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. In the US, December 26th is more commonly known as a shopping holiday.

In Christianity, St. Stephen is regarded as one of the first martyrs and it is believed he dedicated his life to helping the poor and needy. In Austria, the day is commemorated by visiting a Christmas market, going to church or attending a special festival.

As with most other public holidays in Austria, shops are closed on St. Stephen’s Day.

READ NEXT: ‘Mission 11’: Austrian government reveals tips on how to save energy and fuel

Making the most of public holidays in Austria

Austria has a generous public holiday allowance with 13 days every year.

So if employees plan to take vacations during the public holidays, they can really maximise their time off. 

For example, if a public holiday falls on a Wednesday, then it’s possible to take almost a week off work by only using vacation days for Thursday and Friday. But be sure to get any requests in quick as some people plan their vacation days for the entire year in January.

If you are a freelancer, then it’s always a good idea to be aware of public holidays in Austria – especially when working with clients in other countries that have different public holidays.

This way you can make sure you’re not the only one in your household working on a holiday. Or you can at least stock up on groceries before everything shuts down for a day. 

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